Creamy Butternut Squash Macaroni & Cheese

by Heather on November 21, 2011

This past Friday I watched Friends for the first time in months.  It was the one with the Unagi.  We know this can only lead to good things.

Nate is shocked that when Friends first came out I wasn’t allowed to watch it, but I have to say that I’m thankful that my parents only let us watch things like Full House and all the of the fabulous shows on Friday nights.  Oh, and Fresh Prince, which I am convinced I will always know the theme song too.  I picture a 70-something-year-old me rapping along to it to impress my grandchildren.  Because clearly they will know who Will Smith is and enjoy the Carlton dance as much as I still do.  Of course.

But I say that I’m glad my parents didn’t let me watch Friends because I honestly don’t know if I would think it was as funny when I was 12 as I do now.  Adult relationships are so foreign when you’re barely in middle school, but now it all makes sense.  Since I always act like an adult these days.  Duh.

 

So why am I talking about the Friends episode with the Unagi?  Well, if you remember clearly (and if you don’t you should go watch the episode again) Monica and Chandler are celebrating Valentine’s Day late since she had to work, and promised each other homemade gifts.  They both forgot but Chandler found a random mixed tape that he gave to her only to find out that she forgot to make him something.  So after an evening of adult fun Monica makes him one of his favorite meals – macaroni and cheese with cut-up hotdogs!

 

Now to clarify I was never a fan of mac and cheese and hotdogs together, but methinks the pregnancy hormones are working their magic and made it sound pretty fabulous.  If you’re not a fan though, or not pregnant, and don’t want to toss the chicken sausage in there then don’t – it’s heavenly without it too!

CREAMY BUTTERNUT SQUASH MACARONI & CHEESE

  • 1 lb. pasta of choice (I used Dreamfields Healthy Carb Living Penne, which was a fantastic choice.  The company sent it to me to try, but I would definitely spend my own money on it because it’s delicious)
  • 1 15-oz can butternut squash puree
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional – it balances out the sweetness of the squash)
  • 12 oz chicken apple sausage (optional)

Turn your oven to broil.  Cook the pasta according to package directions til it reaches just before al dente – it will sit in the sauce for a bit and will finish cooking.  In a large saucepan melt the butter over medium-low heat.  Add the flour and whisk together to form a quick roux.  Let the butter and flour cook for about a minute and then stream in the milk while whisking to mix everything well.  Add in the salt, pepper, nutmeg, onion powder and cayenne and whisk to combine.  Let the milk mixture come up to a simmer and let it cook for about 5-6 minutes until it’s thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.  Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese and the squash.  Taste for seasoning – you may want to add more salt or pepper.  If you’re using chicken sausage, add it in here.  Pour the pasta in and fold it with the sauce, then place under the broiler for about 3-4 minutes until the top is golden brown and bubbly.  Serve hot!

I feel like such a grown-up when my food cravings come from 1990’s TV shows.  Maybe next week I’ll make a peanut butter and pickle sandwich…I’m sure it’s been done before :)

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